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Christopher Walken

Old 12-11-02, 01:14 PM
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Christopher Walken

When it comes to acting, Christopher Walken can rise to the occasion with ease. The man is a natural - his facial expressions, his tone (he's very distinctive in his tone), his range. He can even be humorous (see the music video for Fatboy Slim).

One thing I will never understand is his choice of film roles. He could have starred in some very huge motion pictures - and, in the very beginning of his career, he did. His biggest film was "The Deer Hunter" in 1978 - both a commercially and critically praised film. He did, in fact, win an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as the doomed "Nick." (In this film, he had natural blonde hair, but in later years he sports jet-black hair. Why?)

I think his very next film was "Dogs of War," and while it was not a wholly bad picture, it wasn't a huge box office draw either. But after that, he went left field (imho). The only other films I can remember seeing him in was "The Dead Zone" (since I'm a Stephen King fan), "The King of New York," that one with Dennis Hopper where he plays a mob guy, and his small but meaty role in 1994's "Pulp Fiction." Not to mention the "Prophecy" films, which are really bad but he's still very good in them, despite the screenplay.

Lastly, is Walken the one who says "I got a fever, and the only prescription is more cow-bell!" I've heard this sound byte on the Ron & Fez radio show, and it really sounds like him. If it is him, what film was that line from??
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Old 12-11-02, 01:18 PM
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The cow-bell line is from a SLC sketch.

http://snl-ibc.jt.org/Cowbell.gif
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Old 12-11-02, 01:24 PM
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Originally posted by Groucho
The cow-bell line is from a SLC sketch.

http://snl-ibc.jt.org/Cowbell.gif
Uh-oh - Groucho's lived in Salt Lake City (SLC) too long. Saturday Night Live is SNL. Don't worry man, I know how it is.

Last edited by greatjedi; 12-11-02 at 01:32 PM.
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Old 12-11-02, 01:26 PM
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So its Will Ferrell's voice (I've seen the sketch, but didn't associate the two) and not Walkens. Okay, then.
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Old 12-11-02, 01:28 PM
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No, it is Walken's voice. He's just not in that picture I posted, but he's in the sketch.

Yes, it's SNL, not SLC.
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Old 12-11-02, 01:32 PM
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Man, that sketch was so totally original and funny! Walken was the producer, I remember now. Everytime I hear "(Don't Fear) The Reaper" by Blue Oyster Cult, I think of this. I would love to have this on DVD - anyone know if it currently available on one of the released sets?
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Old 12-11-02, 01:39 PM
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when i bought a boc cd, i was angry that there wasnt enough cow bell
but on topic, did anyone else like him in batman returns with grey hair. and of course true romance is his best performance imo (i have not seen the deer hunter yet)
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Old 12-11-02, 01:41 PM
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I have to say that the Fatboy Slim video is one of my all time favorites. Spike Jonze + Christopher Walken =
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Old 12-11-02, 01:52 PM
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Re: Christopher Walken

Originally posted by Buttmunker
Lastly, is Walken the one who says "I got a fever, and the only prescription is more cow-bell!" I've heard this sound byte on the Ron & Fez radio show, and it really sounds like him. If it is him, what film was that line from??
If you search on kazaa for cowbell you'll find the video.

No matter what part Walken is in, I crack up laughing.
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Old 12-11-02, 02:53 PM
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I've followed Walken's career since my beloved "The Deer Hunter", and I think he has a lot of little gems with always interesting performances. I know what you mean that he didn't go the "high-profile" route after his Oscar win, though. But I LOVE the quirky roles he does so well, from "Suicide Kings" to "The Comfort of Strangers" to "Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead". He's also hilarious in the recent "Scotland PA", which I heartily recommend.

Christopher has always said he fears never working again. That's why he pretty much takes the best of what is offered at any given moment. They did a piece on him on "60 Minutes II" a couple of weeks ago -- he's such an interesting man.
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Old 12-11-02, 03:18 PM
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This thread deals with the need for more cowbell

http://www.dvdtalk.com/forum/showthr...hlight=cowbell
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Old 12-11-02, 03:21 PM
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A brilliant talent with a lot of Charisma. I like his work.
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Old 12-11-02, 03:26 PM
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Originally posted by rkndkn
Christopher has always said he fears never working again. That's why he pretty much takes the best of what is offered at any given moment. They did a piece on him on "60 Minutes II" a couple of weeks ago -- he's such an interesting man.
If he wasn't such a great actor, his career could have paralleled the likes of Jan Michael-Vincent. If Walken was so concerned about never working again, why has he worked on less-than-ambitious projects? "Suicide Kings?" Blah!
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Old 12-12-02, 12:12 AM
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A penny for Walken

His few minutes in "Pennies From Heaven" are honestly a sheer
joy to watch.

I'm debating to post my look at Catch Me If You Can but i can
tell you it's Walken at his most subtle and one of his best
performances.
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Old 12-12-02, 09:09 AM
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Walken is in "Catch Me If You Can?" A big studio project?? Speilberg?! Well, slap my mouth! The tide may change just yet. If "Catch Me If You Can" is a huge hit, and if it turns into a classic, it will mark two whole films for Walken - including '78's "The Deer Hunter."

In 200 years, will anyone remember seeing "Suicide Kings?" And its a real shame because Walken is so terrific :*(
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Old 12-12-02, 09:13 AM
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don't forget his short but memorable performance in the great flick True Romance.
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Old 12-12-02, 10:00 AM
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I think he is correct, and if I were him I would work in whatever movie someone offered me.

All you need do is see Jlo and Baffleck getting 10-15 mil per movie to see that something is not right in hollywood, its the same reason that de niro is doing comedy now. Money. At the end of the day it's all about the money.

As an actor you get paid for working, so Chris appears to be a workaholic, and why not.

He brings something to every role, whether it's mousehunt or blast from the past, he is outstanding and adds a dimension that no-one else has.

He has 93 listings on IMDB, some are tv and such not, but this is a man who is not afraid to work.

6 movies released in 01
5 in 02
4 listed so far for 03. The man is brilliant and can do no wrong.

http://us.imdb.com/Name?Walken,+Christopher
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Old 12-12-02, 10:17 AM
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At the end of the day, you're right: its all about the benjamins. However, film is art. Your work is your canvass, and you get paid for doing bad art as well as good art - so with that in mind, why not hold out for great projects?
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Old 12-12-02, 10:19 AM
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One more thing: no matter how much you enjoy a performer's work in a film - if you can't stand the film, what's the point?
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Old 12-12-02, 10:34 AM
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Walken was the last decent Bond villain that actually had some complexity and depth to him IMO.

Plus his role in True Romance was just damn cool! Hell, he is the definition of Damn Cool!

Also, it is about money, and Walken has chosen the route of job security over prestigous big time roles. Nothing wrong with that, glad he is still working and will always be doing so.

Last edited by Dr. DVD; 12-12-02 at 10:52 AM.
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Old 12-12-02, 10:38 AM
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Originally posted by Dr. DVD
Walken was the last decent Bond villain that actually had some complexity and depth to him IMO.
I hope you're kidding.

Grace Jones: What a great view.
Walken: To a kill!

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Old 12-12-02, 11:13 AM
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I think, because he is so unconventional onscreen, that he may be better suited for cameo/supporting/character roles than the traditional "leading man" vehicles. I am a big fan, but a little Chris Walken goes a long way! Other current actors that have this impression on me are Dennis Hopper, Benecio Del Toro, and Willem Dafoe. Personally, they are a little too "quirky" to carry a film commercially. As co-stars in an ensemble cast, they each can do spectacular work.

Walken was originally trained as a song and dance man (like James Cagney). His Fatboy Slim work was a return to his roots.

One film that has not been mentioned, yet, where Walken gets great exposure is At Close Range. Playing opposite Sean Penn, it is a pairing of actors who excel at the craft.

He is also a hoot in Blast From the Past with the dreaded Brendan Frasier and Alicia Silverstone. Best part of the film.

I have to disagree that he really has range. Sure, he can play different characters, but the ones that he really excels at are seemingly smooth and likeable guys who can show an evil undertone at the drop of a hat. In his best roles, he consistently plays a slightly (or more) unstable and dangerous character.

Just one fan's opinions...
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Old 12-12-02, 11:49 AM
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Originally posted by Dr. DVD
Also, it is about money, and Walken has chosen the route of job security over prestigous big time roles. Nothing wrong with that, glad he is still working and will always be doing so.
I don't really think that, after your first 20 million dollars, you have to worry about job security. How much is enough? He doesn't have to work anymore for the money - it isn't that. He could be choosy if he wanted to be, and still know that he has a mansion to go home to and food on the table, etc.

I'm glad to see him still working, too, but I'd like to see him in more films that I'd normally give repeat viewings of. If he wants to stick with independent films, fine. I love independent films sometimes more than big studio films (Fargo comes to mind), but there aren't many Walken films I'd buy just because he was in it.
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Old 12-12-02, 01:42 PM
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Originally posted by Buttmunker
If he wasn't such a great actor, his career could have paralleled the likes of Jan Michael-Vincent. If Walken was so concerned about never working again, why has he worked on less-than-ambitious projects? "Suicide Kings?" Blah!
I think it's the mentality of what if he passes over a role and nobody else offers him anything? Of course, we know how in demand he is, but he seems to be so humble that way.

As for "Suicide Kings", I saw it theatrically and several times on DVD. I love it!
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Old 12-12-02, 01:53 PM
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I'll be honest - I'm disappointed in Christopher Walken. I feel he has not lived up to his potential (yes, this is his mother). You wouldn't have seen Jack Nicholson in "Suicide Kings." You wouldn't have seen Tom Cruise in "Blast From The Past." Walken deserves to stand shoulder to shoulder with Nicholson, DeNiro, Hoffman, et al, yet he is not in the same caliber because Walken's films do not guarantee box office success. Why? Because Walken chooses to play in these low-budgeted, poorly written films that aren't worthy of his person.

The bottom line is this (and this is all my opinion, and doesn't really amount to much): Christopher Walken could have had a stellar career, multiple Oscars, a 20-million-plus paycheck, etc. Instead, he chose a modest career and starred in films that are B-list at best.

He's a beautiful bird with bright, technicolor feathers, but instead of displaying himself for all to see, he hides behind mediocrity. He has stunted his potential as one of the 20th Century's Greatest Movie Stars, just to be known as a great actor.
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